Spurs' star trio grab limelight

San Antonio guard Tony Parker (left) and Boston guard Isaiah Thomas diving for a loose ball. The Celtics tried to fight back from a 15-point deficit but could get no closer than four before losing 87-95.
San Antonio guard Tony Parker (left) and Boston guard Isaiah Thomas diving for a loose ball. The Celtics tried to fight back from a 15-point deficit but could get no closer than four before losing 87-95.PHOTO: REUTERS

Duncan, Parker and Ginobili enjoy 541st win, Aldridge scores 24pts

BOSTON • LaMarcus Aldridge top-scored with 24 points but it was the trio of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili who stole the headlines as the San Antonio Spurs stopped the Boston Celtics 95-87 on Sunday.

Despite a quiet night on the scoresheets, the Spurs star threesome posted their record 541st milestone National Basketball Association (NBA) win together, which fittingly came against the Celtics.

They had been in a tie with Boston's Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish for most victories by a threesome in NBA history.

Said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich: "They are three wonderful players. They just care about winning games."

Free-agent summer signing Aldridge delivered three straight baskets that helped nullify a late Boston comeback.

SUPER THREESOME

They're three wonderful players. They just care about winning games.

GREGG POPOVICH, Spurs head coach, on Duncan, Parker and Ginobili

The forward also had 14 rebounds and five assists, as the visitors improved to 2-1 for the season.

Centre Duncan scored seven points, grabbed nine rebounds and dished out five assists while guards Ginobili and Parker scored 13 and six points respectively.

Argentinian Ginobili came off the bench to add eight assists.

The win was San Antonio's eighth straight over the Celtics, who refused to give up after trailing by as many as 15 points.

Boston reduced the deficit to just four on three occasions late but could get no closer.

"I don't think we were great tonight," said Popovich.

"They did a good job defensively, and we didn't react real well."

Forward Kawhi Leonard, who scored a career-high 32 points in a season-opening loss at Oklahoma City, drained a key three-pointer from the left corner and, after guard Marcus Smart answered with a three-pointer for the Celtics, scored again.

Parker then converted on a fast break to make it 90-83 with two minutes remaining.

Leonard put the icing on the cake with two free throws with 28 seconds left. He finished with 19 points and five rebounds.

In Miami, Hassan Whiteside came up with 25 points, while Dwyane Wade added 20 points, to lead the Heat to a 109-89 come-from-behind victory over the Houston Rockets.

Marcus Thornton scored 21 points for Houston but Rockets star James Harden had only 16 on two-for-15 shooting - 0-for-10 from three-point range.

The Rockets, who were expected to challenge for the NBA title, have dropped each of their first three games by exactly 20 points.

"We can't have a stagnant offence and not get stops," Harden said. "That's a sign of disaster, which happened in the second half."

Head coach McHale added: "We have not played well in the first three games.

"No one feels sorry for us. We just have got to go out and find our rhythm and keep on playing."

Centre Dwight Howard sat out to rest on the first night of a back-to-back but is expected to play when the Rockets host the unbeaten Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder, led by Kevin Durant's 25 points, moved to 3-0 with a 117-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets at their Chesapeake Energy Arena home.

In Friday's double-overtime win over Orlando, Durant and Russell Westbrook combined for 91 points.

On Sunday, seven players scored in double figures.

Serge Ibaka had 18 points, seven rebounds and five blocks and Westbrook had 15 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

"It shows how deep we are," Durant said.

"We made it easy for everybody.

"Making the extra pass, getting steals, kicking the ball ahead.

"When we play like that, when everybody plays together like that, it makes it easy."

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2015, with the headline 'Spurs' star trio grab limelight'. Print Edition | Subscribe